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Wang: Taiwanese companies need to be cautious about getting involved in the US-China chip war

via:凤凰网     time:2022/8/9 9:01:39     readed:108

Recently, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi openly visited Taiwan, during which she also met with the chairman of TSMC to discuss the chip cooperation between the US and Taiwan. The trend of TSMC in the strategic game between China and the US and the US in the chip technology war with China once again drew high attention from the outside world. In recent years, the US has increasingly suppressed and suppressed the development of China's chip industry, from the pressure exerted by the US alone to the joint confrontation with its Allies and quasi-allies, from the technical and political pressure to the long-arm jurisdiction of legislation. Among them, TSMC has been the focus of the United States in an attempt to block, contain and strangle the development of China's semiconductor industry.

TSMC is an important semiconductor company in the world. It now manufactures 92% of the most advanced chips in the international market and accounts for 55% of the world's chip contract manufacturing output. Although TSMC is a well-known semiconductor enterprise in Taiwan, the largest shareholder is Citibank of the United States, with a shareholding of 20.5%. The total shareholding of foreign institutions and individuals is 78%, and the shareholding of Taiwan administrative authorities is only 6.4%. It can be said that TSMC is essentially a Taiwan enterprise controlled by the United States. COVID - 19 during the outbreak, the height of the global chip needs further highlights the advantages and competitiveness of TSMC, striving to become the world's large economies investment object, TSMC in addition to continued in the island's constructing chip factory, also actively expanding overseas investment layout, investments in the us $12 billion to build advanced production 5 nm chip factory, In cooperation with SONY of Japan, we will invest in 22nm and 28nm chip plants in Japan, and at the same time, we will invest in a new 28nm chip plant in the mainland.

However, due to the dominance and intervention of the United States, TSMC faces new development options and possible risks in its global layout and development. TSMC became embroiled in geopolitical disputes after the US launched a trade war, technology war and chip war against China. The United States is actively promoting the "four-party chip alliance" including Japan, South Korea and China's Taiwan region, and the Democratic Progressive Party administration is actively seeking Taiwan's membership under the strategy of "seeking independence from the United States and opposing China". TSMC seems to be in a difficult position (it has an unusual relationship with the Taiwan authorities, has a close investment cooperation relationship with the mainland, and is unable to resist the strong economic and political pressure of the United States). It is not easy to make a rational and proper choice between the mainland and the United States.

In addition, the US Senate and House of Representatives have passed a $280 billion "Chip and Science Act", including 52 billion dollars of government subsidies to encourage or entice semiconductor manufacturers such as TSMC, Samsung and Intel to invest in the US. The lure of a huge subsidy may seem sweet, but it may turn out to be a poison hard to swallow. The bill itself similar to trump leading the United States and Mexico signed with "poison pill" clause in the agreement of trade (either party shall not unilaterally and non-market economies signing FTA, sword refers to China), also set up a "ten years" clause, the investment in the United States enjoy subsidies after semiconductor companies shall not be in China within the next 10 years, or other "unfriendly countries" construction of advanced chip factory. This has once again exposed the economic and technological hegemony of the United States, forcing big chip companies to choose one over the other in an attempt to thwart the development of China's semiconductor industry. Whether huge subsidies are candy or poison is hard to say, and the past is not far off. Trump stage, at the beginning of the push to promote manufacturing back the United States, also to provide huge subsidies to Taiwan's hon hai announced a $10 billion investment in the United States the construction of large panel factory, and now this investment has collapsed, according to U.S. media reports, hon hai had to local government pays $36 million a year, and for 20 years. Similarly, the "Chip Act" in the United States aims to "de-sinicize" the high-end chip market, which makes TSMC very painful. The investment in the United States is not only expensive, but also will become "American talent training center". If the investment does not work out as expected, TSMC is likely not only to have to pay huge economic compensation, but also greatly affect the overall long-term development of the company.

Now the United States had entered the post-industrial modern information society, science and technology is highly developed, and under the globalization and market division of labor, manufacturing a large number of transfer, Washington now wants to manufacturing a large number of reflux, and encourage the semiconductor, expand the investment in the United States is run counter to the rules of market and economic development law, does not meet the requirements for the favorable elements of mass manufacturing investment. On top of that, the United States currently has a labor shortage and high labor costs. According to estimates, the manpower cost of TSMC's investment in the US is 50 per cent higher than that in Taiwan, and may be 60 per cent higher than that in the mainland. In addition, the United States has a large labor union force and complicated legal regulations. In the absence of a tax agreement between the United States and Taiwan, Taiwanese investors in the United States have to bear a high tax burden. These are all cost risks that companies have to consider.

Like other industrial development, semiconductor industry also has boom and bust development cycle. In late June, memory giant Micron Inc. 's shares fell 7 percent the next day after a weaker-than-expected earnings report, triggering a broad sell-off in semiconductor stocks and leading to widespread speculation that a new semiconductor recession could be on the way. Besides, traditional chip manufacturing technology is close to the end, TSMC with samsung chips have been to 3 nm process, the future will be the chip manufacturing of new materials and new technology in the field of competition, quantum chip may realize the new breakthrough, this will bring to the chip manufacturing and semiconductor industry development pattern even subversive impact.

In the complex under the new situation, especially in the United States to China launched a war to promote "to the Chinese exclusion" chip under the background of supply chain, Taiwan chip companies to invest in the future development and layout need to be made more practical objective judgment and choice, to fully realize that the future mainland chip industry will certainly break through difficult, there are bigger and better prospects for development, and is very important to the mainland market, Do not "value the United States over the land", easily join the US-led "chip quartet alliance". (The author is honorary president of the Taiwan-Taiwan Family Research Institute at Minnan Normal University and a senior researcher at the Taiwan Economics Research Institute, Central University of Finance and Economics)

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